Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken

By • December 7, 2010 • 66 Comments

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Author Notes: About a decade ago, I went to a cooking demonstration at Macy's by Christopher Hirscheimer. She showed the crowd her trick for making it easy to carve roasted chicken -- she simply cut out the chicken's backbone before roasting, then she reshaped the bird and trussed it to hold it together. Spatchcocking is a similar technique except instead of re-shaping the bird, you flatten it, making it possible to grill or saute a bird in one layer. Fast forward to this fall. At a dinner with some fellow food52ers in Boston, our conversation touched on chef Gordon Hammersley's technique of "braise-roasting" poultry -- where he submerges the meat in broth and leaves the skin exposed to the oven heat. I thought it was time to get in the kitchen to try the combo of spatchcocking and braise-roasting. As usual, rather than do any research, I winged it, occasionally calling out to Merrill for advice. Here are the results!Amanda Hesser

Serves 4

  • One 4 to 4 1/2 pound chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed (skins left on)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup fino sherry or dry white wine
  • About 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin slices (skin left on; seeds discarded)
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Using poultry shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. Reserve the backbone. Turn the chicken skin-side-up and press down on the breast bone to flatten the chicken. Generously season the chicken all over.
  2. In a casserole pan or other low shallow pan large enough to fit the flattened chicken, melt the butter in the oil over medium high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken skin-side-down, and the backbone, and brown well, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons fat.
  3. Set the pan back on the stove. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the shallot has softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage and sherry. Increase the heat and boil off nearly all the sherry. Add 1 cup chicken broth and the lemon slices. Gently lower the chicken back into the pan, again skin-side up.
  4. If needed, add more broth to come 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven, and braise-roast until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 degrees), 30 to 50 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes -- uncovered, or the skin will soften! Carve the bird. Strain the pan juices and adjust the seasoning. Serve bird and cooked-down broth, and enjoy!
Jump to Comments (66)

Tags: braised, chicken, roast

Comments (66) Questions (8)

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4 days ago SleepyG

Yummmmmm. Is it weird to eat leftover chicken for breakfast? Oh well if so! Thank you thank you thank you thank you for making my husband use the word, "delicious". He notoriously says "good" in response to dinner which isn't good enough for me:)

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11 days ago Peter Serpico

Made this tonight along with sriracha-roasted cauliflower and pearled couscous with shallot, shitakes, and baby spinach. Spectacular!!!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 days ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

And where was my invitation? :)

Ashley

11 months ago Ashley Marie

Made this for our Christmas dinner tonight with some smashed potatoes and oven roasted Brussels sprouts. As someone who has spent an entire year boasting that the Zuni Cafe roast chicken was THE BEST roast chicken in the entire world, I'm having mixed emotions when it comes to this one, because this was, without a doubt, the most moist, juicy, savory, delicious roast chicken I have ever had. My boyfriend said I was making inappropriate noises while eating it. I'm in love with not only everything about the chicken, but the broth itself. I strained the leftover broth and have stuck it in the fridge until I can figure out what to do with it - I really don't want it to waste, it's too good! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

11 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Ashley Marie, I don't know if I'll ever receive a better comment on a recipe -- thank you, and merry Christmas!

Ashley

11 months ago Ashley Marie

Merry Christmas to you too! Thank YOU for sharing it - REALLY! ;) Any ideas on what to do with the strained broth?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

11 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

The first thing that comes to mind is stracciatella (Italian egg-drop soup) -- you'd probably have to add chicken broth or water to your saved broth to get the right volume, but I thought of this because the flavor of this soup is so much about the broth. Here's Merrill's recipe for it: http://food52.com/recipes...

Ashley

11 months ago Ashley Marie

It's in the low 20F's here, so that soup sounds wonderful tonight, especially after all the heavy food we've been eating this week! Thanks again!

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about 1 year ago Sarah

I have made this several times--great recipe. Last time, I tried deboning two chickens (leaving in the drumstick and retying so they look like whole birds). Browned and the cooked them side-by-side in the braise and people RAVED about it. And so simple to carve.

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about 1 year ago Pat in SoCal

Yum! ....once again....

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about 1 year ago BadCat

WOW! This was awesome! It was really so quick and easy. This is going to be my new "go to" week night chicken recipe. Thanks!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for your note -- and happy to hear you liked it so much!

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about 1 year ago Jenn2323

I made this for Rosh Hashana tonight. Thank you for elevating such a classic recipe like Roasted Chicken. By sharing the technique of removing the bone, the browned skin and even cooking became my new, best "go- to" recipe. Thank you again Food52

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great to hear this -- and happy new year!

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over 1 year ago stephanieRD

Made this last night for our Sunday dinner alongside some brown rice and roasted veggies. This was fantastic! I have never spatch-cooked a chicken before. The breast meat was tender and juicy; the dark meat turned out well also with a buttery, velvety texture. Great idea!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad you liked the recipe -- I wish they sold chickens pre-spatchcocked!

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over 1 year ago Foodelf

Thanks for bringing this one back to the surface again, I loved it when I first made it and it certainly deserves another outing.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Julia Konovalova

I found this recipe on Food52 app for iPhone and tried it last week. I loved it so much I made it two days in a row with some very minor changes. Thank you for this amazing idea/technique. Just posted it on my blog: http://www.imagelicious...

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks, Julia (sorry I missed your note when it was originally posted).

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almost 2 years ago TedM

Made this last night and I agree with the comments by "the solar chef" and "AmandaJames" below. The sauce turned out quite bitter. Next time no whole lemons! Just the zest and/or juice. Also, for my taste, it could have used much more sherry flavor and a bit of sweetness, so a double-dose of amontillado would be better than the fino.
Or even better yet, the spatchcock/braise idea would be perfect for a whole variety of ingredients, like "AmandaJames'" sausage and artichoke - next time I make this (and I will!) I will probably wing it.

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about 2 years ago Amy Gonsier

I made this today for the first time, it was wonderful, as there are only 3 of us there is enough left over for tomorrow's Cobb salad.

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about 2 years ago elaina

I've made this multiple times. My boyfriend loves it. Once I used an immersion blender with the braising liquid, reduced it and used it as gravy on the chicken and mashed potatoes. SO GOOD!!

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about 2 years ago elaina

I've made this multiple times. My boyfriend loves it. Once I used an immersion blender with the braising liquid, reduced it and used it as gravy on the chicken and mashed potatoes. SO GOOD!!

Stringio

about 2 years ago arhoad

Mad this last night as an alternate to my usual whole roast chicken with butter, salt, and pepper. My daughter wanted me to mix it up. This was wonderful. I made this with the green beans with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper flake. Loving your recipes, thank you

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad to hear you liked it -- and the green beans sound delicious!

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over 2 years ago millefeuille

Great recipe! After reading the braised scallion recipe on this site, I decided to add 2 inch lengths of scallion and carrots to the braising liquid. They were delicious served alongside the crispy, juicy chicken. After gently reducing the strained broth, I added some chopped parsley and chives. Made for a tremendous sauce.

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almost 3 years ago dinner at sheila's

Made this for dinner tonight along with barley risotto. So quick and tasty...the sauce was divine.

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almost 3 years ago maryvelasquez

Thanks for this recipe, which was very easy after I faced the step where I had to cut out the backbone. I don't have poultry shears, but a sharp chef's knife worked. The fIavor was wonderful. I used the convection feature on my oven, which I rarely do, and the skin was super crisp. And, yes, the carving was a snap!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I'm glad to know it doesn't dry out in a convection oven. I have convection but haven't tried it.

Emfraiche

almost 3 years ago EmFraiche

This was my first time every cooking a whole chicken, and it turned out better than I could have imagined. Thank you for the excellent, well written recipe!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the great feedback -- and congrats on your first whole chicken success!

Stringio

almost 3 years ago hothead

Hi Amanda

Where can I get a low shallow pan for this recipe.

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almost 3 years ago Panacea Food

I used a 12" iron skillet and it worked like a charm. Great recipe, Amanda! I'm so glad to have a new go-to chicken recipe.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

A skillet is a great idea -- the pan you see in the photo is a Le Creuset oval casserole dish (enameled cast iron, not ceramic). Hope this is helpful.